Sometimes it's called a writer's muse, that vast cloud that swirls violently in the writer's mind... sometimes it's a picture, a painting, a joke, a person, a comment... or music. For me, it's people and music. I'm going to focus on the music that has been running (and rerunning) in my mind lately.
I've been working on Ghost stories. Grim, gritty, and raw stories of the deceased... and the sometimes awful world they reside in that is (in my mind) a crumbling decayed reflection of our own. A place where monsters are not only present - they are not uncommon.
Two bands have produced music that, in my mind, sets "just the right tone" for telling the kinds of stories I have to tell, and often pulls me down darker corridors than I would have chosen without them. I am speaking, of course, about Tool and Depeche Mode. Not a fan? Sorry. I am.
From Opiate to Aenima... from Violator and Songs of Faith and Devotion... I feel that the lyrics and the tone really work in my head to form a backdrop... a soundtrack, if you will, to the world I'm painting on the page.
If you're interested I'd suggest listening to (Each song title is a link):
Depeche Mode: Waiting For The Night To Fall - Enjoy The Silence - World In My Eyes - Never Let Me Down Again - One Caress - I Feel You
Tool: Sweat - Forty Six & 2 - Aenima - 4 Degrees - Schism - Stinkfist - Eulogy - Part Of Me - Opiate
(There are countless other examples I could list and link... but that would take a heroic amount of time... and I just don't have that kind of time today.)
I don't know about all the other writers of the world... but music helps me... lets me feel what I'm seeing in my mind. It makes putting it down for others easier... and (I hope) helps carry the tone it should.
I honestly don't know why I felt like putting all this down for public consumption, but I did... so here it is. Take it for what it's worth.